Data from two national studies reveal that 13 percent of adult American women have been victims of at least one forcible rape in their lifetime and that 1.3 forcible rapes occur each minute.
One study was a 3-year longitudinal study of a national probability sample of 4,008 adult women; the other surveyed 370 agencies providing crisis assistance to rape victims. Findings showed that 61 percent of the rape cases occurred before victims reached age 18. In addition, only 16 percent of rapes were reported to the police. Most cases were reported within 24 hours after the rape, although 25 percent were reported more than 24 hours later. Contrary to the argument that disclosure of victims' names by the news media would encourage reporting, half of all rape victims stated that they would be much more likely to report rapes to the police if a law prohibited the news media from obtaining and disclosing their names and addresses. In addition, 31 percent of all victims developed post-traumatic stress disorder; this disorder sharply increased their risk for major alcohol and other drug abuse problems. Finally, rape service agencies believed that public education about rape, expanded counseling and advocacy services for victims, and law protecting victims' confidentiality would increase victims' willingness to report sexual assaults. Figures and tables
United States of America